Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 14, 2019

Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel
  • Doing Things the Right Way at Starting Strength Dallas – Coach Brent Carter and member Graham talk about Graham's progress during his first few months training at Starting Strength Dallas including lean bodyweight increases, strength increases, and performance improvements.
  • John Lovell and Rip spend some time on the platform with the deadlift during a recent trip to WFAC in which Rip worked with The Warrior Poet on his lifts.
  • Why Train the Power Clean? Mark Rippetoe introduces the power clean before the Starting Strength Seminar platform session and explains why the power clean is part of the Starting Strength program.

Training Log
From the Coaches
  • Strength Training for ATHLETES and GRANDMAs – John Lovell (Warrior Poet Society) and Mark Rippetoe discuss the benefits of Starting Strength compared to other popular fitness programs as well as how even the oldest Warrior Poet Society member can improve mobility, strength, and maintain independence.

In the Trenches

will morris presents at the nutrition and rehab camp
Starting Strength Coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy Will Morris presents a way for lifters and coaches to deal with injuries during the Nutrition and Rehab Camp held at WFAC last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
teaching hip drive coach development camp
April Incollingo teaches hip drive with George Fairley during the Squat Coach Development Camp held in Phoenix at Weights and Plates, A Starting Strength Affiliate Gym. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
ross deadlifting 233 kg
Fivex3 Training member, Ross, finishes strong at the Westminster Fall Classic with a 233 kg deadlift. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]
lauren presses 52 kg
Lauren, another Fivex3 member, locks out her third attempt press with 52 kg at the same meet. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]

Best of the Week

Instances for using pull up vs chin up

I understand Rip is on the side of chin-up over pull-up because it incorporates more muscles and muscle mass into the movement. But I think the benefits of a pullup outweigh its lack of biceps, at least enough to merit alternating the grips from time to time. Most importantly is grip width, I’m speaking specifically about wide-grip pulll-ups. Because the grip is wider than the shoulders, the shoulders will not be nearly as internally rotated as a chin-up. I don’t know if this is a concern of Rip's but for people with shoulder pain or rounded shoulders (a lot of people) it might be. Additionally, pullups serve as a better assistance exercise to the deadlift because the grip width and type is most similar to that of a conventional deadlift (wide of shoulders, prone). A chin-up width would translate better for a sumo deadlift (within shoulders).

Mark Rippetoe

Is there a question here?


Sorry, Rip. I’m used to just making a statement and waiting for someone to prove me fundamentally wrong (on the internet). For the purpose of deadlifts, should you do pullups over chinups? Or are the differences so minute that it just doesn’t matter?


Your point about their value as a deadlift assistance exercise seems mistaken to me. If they're valuable in that capacity it's because doing them makes certain muscles stronger in a way which helps you deadlift more weight, not because the grip is similar. Also, I wasn't under the impression that there is any difference in grip width between a sumo and conventional deadlift. In both cases isn't the optimal width precisely shoulder width, allowing the arms to hang vertically from the shoulder joint? Who is pulling from the floor with a grip wider or narrower than his shoulders, aside from when doing cleans, snatches, or variations thereof?

Mark Rippetoe

Why would a supine vs prone grip in a bodyweight assistance exercise make any difference to your 500-pound deadlift? You think pullups are better because they look more like deadlifts?

Are you a high-school football coach who has been placed in charge of the weight room?


lmao, you can rest easy knowing I’m not coaching anyone. But that was pretty much my thought process, although weighted pullups as opposed to just bodyweight. And in my experience, it helped my deadlift, but as I wrote above it's probably because I'm using too wide a grip on the pull. Thanks for the response, Rip

Mark Rippetoe

You are not the problem. The problem is the hundreds of thousands of high school coaches who think that their weight room exercises must look like football to be effective for football, a complete failure to understand any aspect of their task.

Best of the Forum

Questions about stretching
Gwyn Brookes

I know you recommend against stretching before lifting which makes all kinds of sense. Someone recently pointed out that you also believe stretching in general to be counterproductive to weight training. I am curious to know (if this is indeed what you believe) if you've come to that conclusion via observation or if there's a physiological explanation (or maybe both, but I would love to know more about the physiology behind it). Any enlightenment on that topic would be great, or if you could point me in the direction of a book or article I'd welcome that too.

In the meantime, I'm experimenting on myself. I guess I'm a little addicted to stretching, it's the one thing I've done consistently for let's see - about 30 years. So it's hard to give up altogether. For now, I'm just giving up stretching hamstrings and adductors, since they're my weakest, and most flexible links.

Hopefully my squats will get better! I've been in intermediate linear progression for about six weeks and I've only just stalled on a couple of lifts (bench and power clean) but I continue to experience the squat as the most difficult lift and whenever my form fails it's because of those weak links.

Mark Rippetoe

I don't believe stretching in general is counterproductive to weight training, especially if flexibility is limiting the ROM of a major lift. I just think it is a waste of time if it's not. It IS counterproductive to power production when done before a power-dependent exercise, and even badly designed studies can and do demonstrate this frequently. The stretch seems to interfere with the effectiveness of the stretch reflex component of the contraction. This probably has to do with the proprioceptors and their extension-position feedback.

Gwyn Brookes

My question was aimed at whether stretching the very muscles you need to work (and have a stretch reflex) in the major lifts was counterproductive. I was concerned about spending a lot of time negating the stretch reflex and then relying on that same muscle to produce a powerful enough stretch reflex to utilize in a lift, for instance, at the bottom of a squat.

Hip flexors aren't useful in a squat, due to gravity. They are useful to raise your legs if you are standing (say if you need a nice high kick), or if you are dangling by your legs, they can help you raise your torso. Or, if you are lying down, they help bring your legs closer to your torso. Sorry if I am being pedantic here.

I have super tight hip flexors and spend a lot of time stretching them, and doing so alleviates a number of issues I have with my hips. But stretching my hamstrings and adductors is just a leftover habit from years of dancing and doesn't seem so productive anymore, especially since I can't feel any stretch reflex helping me at the bottom of my squat. So that was the basis for my original question.

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